Loch Avich, Argyll, Scotland

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Route No. 315 - Wednesday September 2009
Loch Awe, Dalavich forest, Loch Avich,
River Avich circuit - 8km
Argyll, Scotland . . .

Ordnance Survey route map on the Landranger series map base.
View the route in Google Earth

Map: Ordnance Survey Explorer 360 Loch Awe & Inveraray at 1:25000


Oak woods in the Forestry Commission's Dalavich Forest
Oak woods in the Forestry Commission's Dalavich Forest

Notice board at the  Dalavich forest car park
Notice board at the Dalavich forest car park

We drove to the Forestry Commission car park beside Loch Awe about 1.5km north of the village of Dalavich at map ref. NM969139. We planned to do a way-marked walk of about 8km through the forest to Loch Avich, around the shore of the loch and back to the car park on a path above the river Avich.

This week my wife and I are staying in a holiday cottage in the grounds of Inveraray Castle in Argyll. It has not stopped raining since we arrived on Saturday but today we decided on a walk in the Dalavich Forest between Loch Awe and Loch Avich despite the continuing misty, drizzly weather.

Oak woods on the edge of Dalavich forest
Oak woods on the edge of Dalavich forest

Oak woods on the edge of Dalavich forest
Oak woods on the edge of Dalavich forest

Pedestrian gate near Barnaline stable
Pedestrian gate near Barnaline stable

Barnaline stable - now a museum
Barnaline stable - now a museum

Climbing up from Loch Awe
Climbing up from the car park near Loch Awe

This building is now a free museum with a display of old farming and forestry tools and information boards.

We followed the path southwards from the car park through some old oak woods for about 600m to the old Barnaline stables at map ref. NM966135.

Nesting box on a sycamore tree
Nesting box on a sycamore tree

Barnaline stable - now a museum
Barnaline stable - now a museum

Climbing up from Loch Awe
Climbing up from the car park near Loch Awe

Scabius, ferns and mosses by the path
Scabius, ferns and mosses by the path

Here there is a view point and a picnic table looking out across Loch Awe. Today we could just see the far side of the loch through the mist.

From the stable we followed the way-marked trail up through the conifer forest for about 1.5km to map ref. NM957131.

Climbing up from the car park near Loch Awe
Climbing up from the car park near Loch Awe

The view point looking out over Loch Awe
The view point looking out over Loch Awe
Fly agaric fungus - model for the fairy toadstool
Fly agaric fungus - model for the fairy toadstool
Heather still in full flower
Heather still in full flower
Once a small loch this area was drained into Loch Avich  when the water broke through the natural dam
Once a small loch this area was drained into Loch Avich when the water broke through the natural dam

There had been many undulations in the path to this point and afterwards I checked and found that the route includes around 250m of climbing even though the highest point on the walk is only 180m.

We left the view point and continued along the way-marked trail for another 1.5km to map ref. NM939137. Here our path crossed a forest access road and we were beginning to descend towards Loch Avich.

Heading down towards Loch avich
Heading down towards Loch Avich

Bog myrtle - the scented sap can be an insect repellant
Bog myrtle - the scented sap can be an insect repellant

Heading down towards Loch Avich
Heading down towards Loch Avich
Forest floor covered with moss and wood sorrel
Forest floor covered with moss and wood sorrel
Branches hung with lichen
Branches hung with lichen
Birch woods near Loch Avich
Birch woods near Loch Avich
Our first view of Loch Avich
Our first view of Loch Avich

Path beside Loch Avich
Path beside Loch Avich

There was a view out across the loch and it was a very pleasant spot to have our lunch. By now we were used to the gentle drizzle and the misty distance.

We followed the path for another 500m down to the shore of Loch Avich. Here the woods were mainly birch, making a very pretty scene with the loch. After about 1km we found a spot to sit on a log at a small landslip.

Loch Avich
Loch Avich


Path beside Loch Avich

Path around Loch Avich
Path around Loch Avich

Our path took us down the hillside high above the river for almost 2km back to the car park.

We continued around the loch for another 500m to map ref. NM954145 where the path over looks the outlet of the loch into the River Avich.

Picnic table at the outlet from Loch Avich
Picnic table at the outlet from Loch Avich

Tangle of fallen trees after last year's winter storms
Tangle of fallen trees after last year's storms

We called at the Post Office/ Cafe in Dalavich for a coffee before driving back to our cottage. It was an interesting place which the local people obviously use as a community centre to meet their neighbours and have a chat. On the way back we stopped by Loch Awe to admire the view across to Kileburn Castle. We were surprised to see an Osprey circling over the loch. We watched it through the binoculars for several minutes before it disappeared out of sight down the loch. I thought that Ospreys would have migrated south by now but obviously not this one.

The whole walk had been 8 km and it had taken us three and a half hours to walk including our lunch stop. There is a walk of almost 3km from the car park on a path beside the river Avich to see the spectacular falls as the river descends about 100m in a distance of 2km from Loch Avich to Loch Awe. I'm getting so decrepit these days that we did not do this extra 3km to see the falls and now I regret not doing so.

Path above the River Avich back to the car park
Path above the River Avich back to the car park